My friends and I returned to Disneyland last week to go on the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion (link goes to Doombuggies). And, of course, it was awesome. I expected a few random movie references scattered in the ride – sort of like what was done with Pirates of the Caribbean. But it was actually like being on a different ride, except where the existing ride features could be worked into a Nightmare context.
If you haven’t gone yet, this is your last weekend for the Disneyland Hallowe’en. Aside from pumpkin motifs throughout the park, not much else has changed. But Disneyland isn’t so much trying to compete with Knotts Scary Farm or Universal Studios as it is providing an alternative to those places. According to an L.A. Times article last month, (“Theme Parks Are Dying To Feature Hallowe’en“), Disneyland is trying to bring the fun back to Hallowe’en without the “ghoulish stuff”: pumpkin carving and Disney villains feature prominently. Their take is more of a harvest festival feeling (especially on Main Street) than a Hallowe’en celebration, which really isn’t too bad, philosophically.
There’s a list of which L.A. parks are doing what at About.com as well. I’ve heard mixed commentary about the Universal Studios Horror Nights – despite having a well produced website, friends have proclaimed it “not much more frightening than Knotts Scary Farm”. Commentary on those parks is encouraged especially, as I’m curious. But while it is the last week for Disney and other theme park Hallowe’en’s, the Nightmare Haunted Mansion Christmas is around for another two months (until Xmas). If you’re a fan of the dancing ghosts and Jack Skellington, you have some time to take a weekend day (or a “sick day”) to go check it out in Anaheim.
(post edited to correct ending date of Nightmare ride – thanks 5000!)